Tom Friedman: Five Ways to Thrive in Hyperconnected World

Tom Friedman: Five Ways to Thrive in Hyperconnected World

Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Tom Friedman assembled some of his favorite columnists, colleagues and CEOs last Thursday in San Francisco at the New York Times Global Forum to share their wit and wisdom about the brave new world of hyperconnectivity.

Friedman had five pieces of advice. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

1. Think Like a New Immigrant

Friedman advises us to “Lean In” to this world of hyperconnectivity. (Yes, he’s also in awe of the multi-talented Sheryl Sandberg.) Specifically, Friedman urges us to be “paranoid optimists,” i.e. pursue opportunities more energetically, persistently and creatively than anybody else; and act with the YOLO attitude of a new immigrant while remembering that anything new can be taken away in a flash.

2. Think Like An Artisan

Friedman was obviously inspired by Steve Jobs biography here. He says: do your work every day with so much pride and extra effort that you want to carve your initials into it.

3. Always Be In Beta

In your mind, always think of yourself as a work in progress: iterate, polish, iterate. Think of FINISHED as a four letter word. Friedman thanks LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, for this Silicon Valley pearl of wisdom.

4. It’s A 401K World

It’s a world of free opportunity with defined contributions, but not defined benefits. The divide is no longer just digital; but motivational. Get motivated!

5. Think Like A Waitress

Not just any waitress, specifically the waitress at Perkins Pancake House in Minneapolis (Friedman’s hometown). On a recent visit, the waitress demonstrated her entrepreneurial spirit by bringing Friedman and his colleague extra fruit. As Friedman explains, “She didn’t control much, but she could control the fruit ladle. That was her source of ‘extra'”

Result: She earned a 50% tip. Moral of the story: try to become Friedman’s waitress on his globe trotting travels, and don’t forget those extra ladlefuls.

But seriously since that’s probably not feasible, try to emulate that savvy waitress: Be relentlessly entrepreneurial, change whatever you have control over, and find that new business or opportunity.

Friedman finished his speech with advice for President Obama:

1. In this new world of hyperconnectivity, there will be a growing number of “have-nots,” so safety nets will have to be reinforced and extended.

2. Get yourself a decent narrative to inspire the country, like President Kennedy did in the 60’s with space exploration. e.g. Make America the platform where everyone in the world will come to launch their own moonshot.

Check back soon for an exclusive Fresh Dialogues interview with California’s Leuitenant Governor Gavin Newsom who shares his passion for action on climate change and why he wants to be governor one day.

This event took place at City View, Metreon in San Francisco, June 20, 2013.

See an exclusive (and amusing) Fresh Dialogues interview with Tom Friedman from the archives: Tom Friedman explains his China Envy